Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Yeech

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Prison Bars

On the dividing line between “funny ha ha” and “funny strange”, radio sometimes dangles toes on both sides.

This morning, on NPR’s “Here and Now”, host Jeremy Hobson was talking to reporter Steve Chiotakis of KCRW in Los Angeles about a recent escape of three inmates from the Orange County Men’s Central Jail near Santa Ana, California.  The three pulled off a daring escape, “Shawshank Redemption” style, and now may possibly be harbored by members of the nearby Vietnamese community.

Anyway, in the course of describing the break, Mr. Hobson says something like, “And these men have committed crimes that we probably wouldn’t want to describe on the radio” in that manner of radio hosts where they make a statement into a question by hanging a big empty space on the end of it.

And Mr. Chiotakis, taking his cue, begins to describe the crimes the men committed.

This is one of the many things about reporting and journalism that I think listeners can sometimes find annoying.  Don’t be cagey or cutesy or self-impressively clever about how you skirt lines you draw, please.

Say or don’t say, but don’t be “yeech” about it.

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Written by Interviewer

January 27, 2016 at 03:10

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